North Harbour Rays

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North Harbour Rays
North Harbour Rays logo 2014.png
Macquarie University North Harbour Rays
Founded 2007
Central Coast Rays (ARC)

North Harbour Rays (NRC)
Location Sydney, Australia                                           
Ground(s) Brookvale Oval
(Capacity: 23,000)
Coach(es) Geoff Townsend
Captain(s) Greg Peterson
League(s) National Rugby Championship
2007 ARC Champions
(Central Coast Rays)
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

The North Harbour Rays is an Australian rugby union football team that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team is one of three sides from Sydney in the competition; the other two being the Greater Sydney Rams and the Sydney Stars.[1]

The North Harbour Rays team in the NRC takes its identity from the Central Coast Rays side that played in the earlier national competition, the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC). The ARC was discontinued following the first season in 2007, but after an absence of six years the national competition was relaunched as the NRC in 2014.[2]

The new Rays team was formed as a consortium of four Shute Shield clubs; Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, and Warringah. The Central Coast Rays team in the ARC was also aligned with those four clubs, as well the Central Coast Waves.

Name and colours[edit]

The Rays' name was adopted for the team's first incarnation on the Central Coast, with a manta ray chosen to represent the marine environment of the local area.[3] The logo features a manta ray in navy blue, outlined in white, on a stylised emerald green and white rugby ball, outlined in navy blue. The only change from the 2007 logo is the name North Harbour replacing Central Coast. The team plays in a quartered harlequin-style strip composed of blue, red, and two shades of green from the four constituent clubs. The sleeves are gold and black, and the collar and shorts are white. All four clubs’ colours are featured on the socks.[4]


The Rays' 2007 logo.

In 2007, an attempt was made to form a third tier of rugby in Australia, similar to New Zealand's ITM Cup and South Africa's Currie Cup. The newly-formed competition included eight teams and was called the Australian Rugby Championship.[5] Three of those teams were based in New South Wales, including a Central Coast team.[6]

Central Coast Rays (ARC team)[edit]

Rays' colours (ARC)
Bluetongue Stadium where the Rays played in 2007.

The Central Coast Rays' name and colours were officially unveiled in March 2007 by the New South Wales Rugby Union (NSWRU). The Rays' navy blue and emerald colours represented the ocean and bush landscape of the region.[3]

The Rays' local rivals in the ARC were the Sydney Fleet and the Western Sydney Rams. The three ARC teams from New South Wales were aligned with existing clubs and regions. The clubs aligned with the Central Coast Rays were Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, and Warringah, from the Shute Shield competition, as well as the Central Coast Waves.

The Central Coast Rays played their home games at the Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium at Gosford, on the New South Wales Central Coast. Bluetongue Stadium, with an all-seater capacity of 20,159, had previously hosted numerous rugby union fixtures including Central Coast Waves matches and New South Wales Waratahs matches during the Australian Provincial Championship.[7]

John McKee was the head coach of the Central Coast team.[8][9] He had previously coached the Eastwood club and worked with French club Montferrand and Irish team Connacht.[8]

After finishing second on the league table, the Central Coast Rays came from behind against the Perth Spirit in their semi-final, winning 27 to 19. The Rays hosted the Melbourne Rebels in the inaugural ARC Grand Final and won 20 to 12, becoming the inaugural (and only) champions of the ARC.

The Australian Rugby Championship was terminated at the end of 2007 after only one season of competition, with the Australian Rugby Union citing higher costs than budgeted and further projected financial losses.[10] The Central Coast Rays team was disbanded at the end of the ARC.

North Harbour Rays (NRC team)[edit]

The National Rugby Championship was announced in December 2013 to commence in 2014 with expressions of interest open to any interested parties and the accepted bids announced early in 2014.

In March 2014 it was announced that the Rays would be revived as the North Harbour Rays to compete in the new National Rugby Championship.[11] The new Rays team was backed by a consortium of four Shute Shield clubs: Manly, Warringah, Northern Suburbs and Gordon.

The Rays secured Macquarie University as their principal partner on a two-year deal, to be officially be known as the Macquarie University North Harbour Rays for the 2014 and 2015 NRC seasons.[12]

Phil Blake was initially appointed as the Rays head coach for the 2014 season, with Scott Fava, Haig Sare and Geoff Townsend as part of the coaching staff,[13] but after Blake accepted a coaching opportunity with Leicester Tigers, Geoff Townsend was promoted to the head coaching position and Damien Cummins replaced Fava as the forwards coach.[14] Greg Peterson was named as captain.[15]


The home ground for the North Harbour Rays is Brookvale Oval, located in Brookvale on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

Current players[edit]

The following players were named in the North Harbour Rays' squad for the 2014 National Rugby Championship:[16][17][note 1]



  • Fiji Leeroy Atalifo
  • Scotland Nick Fraser
  • Australia Kevin McNamara
  • Australia Dane Maraki
  • Australia Rory O'Connor
  • Australia Mitch Lewis




Loose Forwards

  • Tonga Kotoni Ale
  • Australia Harry Bergelin
  • Australia James Cunningham
  • Australia Jack Dempsey
  • Australia Michael Hooper1
  • Australia Boyd Killingworth
  • Australia Wycliff Palu1
  • Australia Sam Ward
  • Australia Michael Wells
  • Australia Tom Games





  • Australia Jac Cameron
  • Australia Mali Hingano
  • Australia Tom Matthews
  • Australia Brian Sefanaia


  • Australia Michael Adams
  • Australia Harry Jones
  • New Zealand Sireli Tagicakibau


(c) Denotes team captain, Bold denotes player is internationally capped, 1 denotes allocated national player additional to the contracted squad.

Emerging squad[edit]

The North Narbour Rays also announced an emerging squad for the 2014 season.[19]



  • Champions: 2007 (ARC)

Season standings[edit]

National Rugby Championship

Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts   Play-offs  
2014 7th 8 2 2 4 240 327 −87 0 12   Did not compete

Australian Rugby Championship

Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts   Play-offs  
2007 2nd 8 5 0 3 268 159 109 6 26   Champions

Head coaches[edit]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pek Cowan was originally named as playing with the North Harbour Rays for 2014 but switched to join the Perth Spirit.[18]


  1. ^ "ARU Board approves nine team National Rugby Championship to start in August 2014". (Press release). 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Australia relaunches National Rugby Championship". 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "The Central Coast Rays :: A Natural Choice". 2007-03-15. Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2007-03-15. 
  4. ^ "NRC update part 2: NSW Country and the Sydney teams". The Roar. 9 July 2014. Archived from the original on 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Mazda Australian Rugby Championship". Australian Rugby. 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "NSW unveils three team structure for national comp". ESPN Scrum. 6 September 2006. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Central Coast Stadium". Retrieved 2007-03-15. 
  8. ^ a b "Aussie Coach Returns for Australian Rugby Championship". 2006-12-20. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-03-15. 
  9. ^ "How It Happened - the ARC Story in NSW". Waratahs Rugby. 2007. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007. 
  10. ^ "ARU pull plug on Australian Rugby Championship". ESPN Scrum. 18 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  11. ^ "Australian Rugby Union says National Rugby Championship to start in August". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  12. ^ "North Harbour Rays team up with Macquarie University" (Press release). Macquarie University. 16 June 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "North Harbour Rays press release" (Press release). North Harbour Rays. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  14. ^ Cook, Paul (9 June 2014). "NRC: Geoff Townsend Announced As North Harbour Rays Head Coach". Rugby News. Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Peterson locked in to lead Rays" (Press release). Rays Rugby. 20 August 2014. Archived from the original on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "Macquarie Uni North Harbour Rays development squad" (Press release). Northern Suburbs. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Qantas Wallabies player alignments unveiled for 2014 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship". Australian Rugby. 21 July 2014. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Pek Cowan will now be aligned with the Perth Spirit". RugbyWA. 24 July 2014. Archived from the original on 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  19. ^ "Emerging Rays part of the NRC package". North Narbour Rays. 12 August 2014. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. 

External links[edit]